Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Violence in the US and US violence abroad

Tom Dispatch:  In late December 2001, not long after Washington’s second Afghan War began, there was that wedding celebration in eastern Afghanistan in which 110 of 112 villagers were reportedly killed by American B-52 and B-1B bombers using precision guided weapons. Then there were the more than 40 Iraqi wedding celebrants (27 from one extended family, including 14 children) who died when U.S. planes struck their party at a village near the Syrian border back in May 2004, and the Afghan bridal party of 70 to 90 who were taken out by a U.S. airstrike on a road near the Pakistani border in July 2008. (The bride and 46 of those accompanying her died, according to an Afghan inquiry, including 39 women and children.) Added to this list should be the 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women, and children, ranging in age from 3 to 76, murdered by U.S. Marines in November 2005 in the long-forgotten Haditha massacre. And the 14-year-old girl whom American soldiers gang-raped and murdered along with her family in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, the next year. Let’s not forget either the 12 Iraqis, including two Reuters employees, shot dead (and two children badly wounded) on a Baghdad street in July 2007 by the laughing crew of an Apache helicopter, as revealed in an infamous video released by WikiLeaks. There were also the 60 children (and up to 30 adults) who died in the Afghan village of Azizabad on an August night in 2008 while attending a memorial service for a tribal leader who had been, villagers reported, anti-Taliban. That, too, was thanks to air strikes. There were also those three (or more) Afghan civilians hunted down “for sport” in the summer of 2010 by a self-appointed U.S. “kill team” who were collecting trophy body parts. And there were the 10 boys, including two sets of brothers, collecting wood for their families in Afghanistan's Kunar Province early in 2011, who were attacked by U.S. helicopters. Only one wounded boy survived. Or most recently, the 11 Yemeni civilians, including women and children, in a Toyota truck killed by a U.S. airstrike and initially labeled “al-Qaeda militants.”

Yes, the American people are killing people around the planet and they don’t give a shit. They don’t know because they don’t want to know. There will be no memorials, no special rites, and no solemn ceremonies for these victims of US violence. The suffering Americans have brought these people we make war on is immense and incalculable. The overall numbers killed are staggering. Only the victims of US violence who happen to be Americans stand a chance of being recognized and remembered, and for the most part, not even then. We are a nation of thoughtless and heedless killers, who engage in killing on a daily basis. It is no wonder that our homicide rate is so much higher than other developed countries (see above graphic - and it is for guns only!). We are drenched in blood and we don’t care about anyone’s suffering beyond our own. The above listing of foreign killings hardly begins to cover it. And no matter how much Americans suffer from poverty, natural disasters and violence; it does not hold a candle to the suffering they have caused in foreign lands.

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